It’s been a long time since you have gone by that name. You shed it in the 3rd grade almost like you were trying to re-invent yourself; even at such a young age. This letter is hard for me to write to you because I wish I could tell you that everything is okay. But it’s not. Not like life should be.
Let me just start by telling you the good. You are happily married- going on 10 years. You adore your husband and in return he “gets” you. He understands, sometimes better than you, how you feel. He makes you laugh, he holds your hand, and he gives you space. You have 3 beautiful girls. They are the light of your life even in the dark moments when you want to run away. You are a little over protective and you sometimes yell too much, but you try to keep things in check and give them the childhood you never really, truly had.
It’s been almost 30 years since both your stepbrother and stepfather sexually abused you. You have never really let yourself deal with the pain and devastation this caused you. While you were strong enough to wake your mother up in the middle of the night to tell her, you never let her get you the help you needed. You are so strong, but that is almost a detriment to you. Intellectually you can talk about what happened, but emotionally you just don’t go to that dark place.
Sweet Sunshine… it wasn’t your fault. You never did anything to encourage this and you couldn’t have stopped it.
I wish I could tell you that you didn’t fall into the stereotype for an abused girl. You become promiscuous and get pregnant at 17. You didn’t have the baby. You end up viewing sex as a form of power, not intimacy. You deal with depression pretty much all of you life. The kicker is, most people who know you now, would never use that word to describe you. You are VERY good at hiding your true feelings. Oxymoron is your favorite word. Because that is what you are. On the surface you are an open book. You can and do thrive in any situation. You can talk about any topic. Except what you REALLY feel. What you REALLY think about. You give the impression that you are totally laidback, but really you are a closet control freak.
Please don’t be sad by this letter. You survived. You have a wonderful life that brings you joy and happiness. You have friends and family who love you. I can’t promise that the deep sadness will go away. But what I can promise is that your 34-year-old self will do everything she can to make sure that your 50-year-old self can look back and smile. I want, so very bad, for her to be proud of us. You, for surviving this horrible thing. And me for finally understanding that I had no control.